If you wonder about having bed bugs in your room and feel nervous about finding one. Then don’t worry it’s totally easy to go on a search looking for the bed bugs, how to get rid of them, treat their bites and eliminate them completely.
So, before going further, let’s start with what are bed bugs?
What are bed bugs?
Bed bugs belong to the group of insects which is termed as Hemiptera. They are also known as “TRUE BUGS”.
The bed bugs are blood-feeding insects which possess mouthparts that are pierce-sucking by nature. The bed bugs undergo gradual metamorphosis which includes the phases such as eggs which transform into the nymphs, the nymphs then mature into the adults. The immature stage and adults are usually similar except the fact that the adults can result in reproduction. The females lay less amount of eggs in a day.
The standard bed bugs nourish by feeding on the human hosts, instead of the pets or the furry animals. The bed bugs are usually transferred from humans to humans through their personal belongings which include the luggage, purses, gums bags or other items which are firmly kept aside while sleeping. However, these insects do not result in transmission of diseases from humans to humans. The bites from the bed bugs result in skin irritation which might result in severe reactions for certain individuals.
Can You Visualize Bed Bugs?
Unfortunately no, it’s hard to look for bed bugs. The epidemics regarding the bed bugs is outrageous but still, people are unaware of how do these creepy pests look like. The University of Minnesota explained the different stages of bed bugs in a simplified way.
The eggs hatch in around 6-10 days, the newly formed nymph of the bed bug seeks for a blood meal. The immature bed bugs molt around 5 times i.e. they lose their exoskeletons in the process of growth until they reach the adulthood. The nymphs need to feed on a meal for once before they molt, however, they can feed more than once in 24 hours. There are around 3-4 generations of bed bugs each year.
Bed bugs are nocturnal creatures, it’s difficult to search for them during the daytime. Bed bug bites have similarities to the mosquito bites due to which many people are unable to detect them for long durations.
Places Where Bed Bugs Are Usually Found
You need to find the perfect spots where the bed bugs might be residing such as:
- Loose wallpaper
- Beside the tables
- Wall junctions or ceiling
- You can also find them neat the crevice or the crease such as the mattress seams, baseboards and the personal belongings
- Box springs
- Bed frames
The flattened bodies of the bed bugs allow them to crawl into the tiny spaces. The bed bugs do not form any type of nests similar to the bees or ants but tend to reside in the form of groups lying down in the hiding spots.
How Do The Bed Bugs Look Like?
The mature bed bugs have a size similar to an apple seed i.e. around five millimeters. They are flat, wingless, and reddish-brown and swell up similar to a torpedo when they feed on blood. After feeding process, they turn their color to bright red which takes few days to return back to reddish-brown.
The immature bed bugs undergo the five stages before they reach the adulthood. They can be seen by naked eye, however, it’s difficult to look for them in the very early stage of emergence. Eggs are extremely small and very hard to visualize but they serve as an important sign indicating the bed bug presence. The eggs of the bed bugs are grouped in clusters, they are pearly-white and one millimeter in length.
Bedbugs create aggregations near places where the host sleeps. They undergo all the five stages of life varying in their shapes and sizes. While undergoing these stages, the remains of the feces, egg castings and shells or exoskeletons of the bed bugs accumulate. Other conditions can also result in aggregation such as the chemical stimuli, smells, microclimatic conditions i.e. Humidity, light or temperature or if the antennae get stimulated. Aggregations can be seen near the indentions of the chipped paint, near the closet door, around curtain rods, baseboards, personal belongings or air conditioners.
What Are The Physical Evidence Left By The Bed Bugs In The Room?
Bed bugs are very smart and they know their hiding places, but they are not smart enough to clean up their evidence regarding the blood meals. These clues serve as the best indicator that your room is infested by the bed bugs. The secondary signs of infestation by the bed bugs are clearly visible both during the day and night.
Fecal spots lying down on the bedding or the mattress
One of the most important signs of bed bug infestation includes the lying down of fecal spots which are different from the blood stains. People assume that fecal spots might be blood colored, but this is not the case.
These spots are black or dark brown in color because the blood is already digested and further excreted which leads to the change in color.
You can confirm the presence of fecal spots by wiping the areas with the help of a wet rag, if it gets smeared then it is definitely a sign of excretion by the bed bugs. If you don’t find the bedbugs on your bed sheets, then you can search for them in the mattress seams, corners or edges of the box springs.
If you are still not sure then you can show the fecal matter of the insect to the professional who can test it and confirm the presence of bed bugs in your home.
Shed or cast the bedbug exoskeletons, skins or bed bug shells
You can find out the bed bugs in areas where they feed on blood and aggregate. The bed bugs feed on each meal and continue their growth. In this process, they shed their shells or exoskeletons to grow larger which is termed as MOLTING. Each of this creepy pest molts around 5 times while undergoing the 5 stages of immaturity.
When there is a large infestation of bed bugs, you can find hundreds or thousands of exoskeletons or shells molted behind. The shells are translucent or pearly white, however, they look similar to the bed bugs. When the eggs are initially laid, they are coated with the shiny film which helps them to stick over the surfaces. Bed bugs have a shape of rice grain i.e. very minute around 1-2 mm.
The empty, clear exoskeletons are light colored and look like empty bed bugs. The exoskeletons are small and range between 2.5mm- 4.5mm. The shells are small and similar to the thin popcorn kernels.
Blood stains found on the pajamas or the sheets
The bedbug leaves the rusty-colored or reddish stains, streaks or smears. These stains can be easily detected on light colored sheets. The stains occur when you move in a random fashion during your sleep and crush one of these little creepy bed bugs who have some undigested blood meal undergoing the process.
Bed bugs also are known as the ectoparasites which means they reside on the outer surface of their host feeding on their blood. It is because of this reason that blood stains are found over the sheets or the pajamas.
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Scent Of The Bed Bugs
The bed bugs leave an offensive, musty smell from their scent glands. These creepy pests have glands which release an alarm pheromones that has a musty odor. It’s not easy to detect the smell from all the bed bugs except the few if you have an extraordinary olfactory sense. Some people believe that the bed bugs have a smell similar to the coriander while others assume that they resemble the smell of the spoiled raspberries.
Signs and Symptoms of Suffering from a Bed Bug Bite
You might think that bed bug’s bite is the one of the most telltale sign to find out the bed bug infestation, but this is not true. According to the United States Environmental Protection Agency, the bed bug bite is a poor indicator of finding out the bed bugs. It is because the bites of many insects are similar to the bed bugs and most people do not react to a few such insects because they are used to the repeated exposure of the bed bug’s saliva. For treating the bed bug bites, you don’t only need to get rid of itching instead you need to stop the infestation of bed bugs.
The signs and symptoms of bed bug’s bite include the following:
- Flat, small or raised and red welts to hives, rashes or blisters
- Appears in clusters or groups
- It is primarily found on the neck, back, hands, chest, feet or face
- Itching and burning sensation
- The bite rash limited to the localized area
- Multiple bites spread across the straight lines
- The bed bug bites usually occur when you are in deep sleep but it can also happen during the daytime.
The bed bug’s bite by piercing the host’s skin and withdrawing the blood when they are asleep. The blood is sucked through the elongated beak and feed upon the host for 3-10 minutes which allows them to engorge and offers them to crawl easily.
How Can You Get Rid Of Bed Bugs?
It’s difficult to get rid of the bed bugs. You need to follow the strategic approach to fully remove the bed bug infestation from your home. It’s advised to call the professional who is trained and knowledgeable regarding the control of bed bugs in your home and offers you with the best control options.
If you already suspect that there is a bed bug infestation in your room or entire home then carefully look for the signs of infestation. Start examining the wood frames or seams. Remove the covers of the dust from the bottom of the box springs. Check different areas around the bed such as the telephones, radio, inside of the books, carpet’s edge or the electrical outlets. Examine your closets to check the bed bug infestation in your clothing. If you are not sure about the signs of bed bug infestation then call an exterminator so that he can look for the bed bugs.
Treatment for Bed Bug Bites
As the signs of bed bugs infestation are mentioned above, now you need to consider the treatment for resolving the bed bug bites. It is advised to see the dermatologist if you suffer from the multiple blisters, or bites which are oozing or having pus or you have other signs of severe infections or allergic reactions.
According to the American Academy of Dermatology, the recommended treatment for bed bugs is to wash the area of bed bug bites with the help of water and soap. It prevents the spread of infection and aids in reducing the itchiness. If you have itching, then it’s better to apply the corticosteroid cream over the bites. You can buy this cream from the local drugstore.
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How to Treat the Bed Bug Infestation?
Follow this simple regime to get rid of bed bugs from your home:
- Clean up the places where the bed bugs are mostly found i.e. clean the linens, bedding, curtains along with the clothing items in the hot water after which dry them out in the highest dryer setting.
- Place the shoes, stuffed animals along with other items on high for around 30 minutes which cannot be washed in the dryer.
- Make use of a stiff brush to help in scrubbing the mattress seams which aids in removing the bed bugs along with their eggs before you start vacuuming the entire area.
- Vacuum the bed and the surrounding items frequently. After you are done vacuuming, transfer the vacuum cleaner bag into the plastic bag and throw it in the garbage, leaving it outdoors.
- Repair the cracks present in the plaster or glue down the wallpaper which is peeling down to avoid places for bed bugs to hide.
- Avoid keeping clutter surrounding your bedsides.
- Encase your box springs and mattress in a zippered cover which is tightly woven to avoid the escape or entrance of the bed bugs. Bed bugs can survive for a year without feeding so it is advised to cover the mattress for at least a year.
- If you are sure that your mattress is heavily infested with the bed bugs then get rid of the old mattress and buy a new one. Before buying the new one, clear the bed bugs from the entire home to prevent your new mattress from infestation.
Last but the most important option for treating the infestation of bed bugs includes calling the exterminator to help in controlling the number of bed bugs. They make use of chemical treatments i.e. insecticides to get rid of the bed bugs. It is important to take help from a professional as the chemicals are harmful but can be used safely by them. It is the most effective option which you should consider when you need to control the infestation of pests in your home.